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(LEAD) Seoul stocks dip amid virus woes in Asia

All News 16:34 May 17, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed lower Monday as investors took caution over rising coronavirus cases in parts of Asia and assessed China's latest economic data that partially missed expectations. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 18.80 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,134.52 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 758.87 million shares worth some 14.33 trillion won (US$12.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 587 to 277.

Foreigners offloaded a net 599.7 billion won, and institutions sold a net 143.5 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 727.5 billion won.

Electronic signboards at the dealing room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,134.52 points on May 17, 2021, down 18.8 points, or 0.6 percent, from the previous session's close. (Yonhap).

The main index got off to a firm start, tracking a Wall Street rally on Friday, but turned lower as investor sentiment was weighed down by rising COVID-19 cases across Asia.

Taiwan and Singapore have imposed new restrictions against the virus to curb a recent spike in new infections.

"Foreigners continued to sell stocks on growing concerns over damage to the global supply chain," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.

Investors also weighed China's April economic data released earlier in the day.

"(China's) industrial output rose 9.8 percent on-year, matching expectations, while retail sales increased 17.7 percent, falling short of estimates of 24.9 percent," Seo added.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics retreated 0.62 percent to 79,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 0.84 percent to 117,500 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 0.7 percent to 860,000 won, while electric vehicle battery maker Samsung SDI slipped 0.48 percent to 623,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver added 0.44 percent to 344,000 won, and rival Kakao gained 1.38 percent to 110,500 won.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics slumped 7.81 percent to 874,000 won, while local drugmaker SK Bioscience surged 9.25 percent to 159,500 won after it said its production facility of AstraZeneca and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines received certification approval from the European Medicines Agency.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 0.87 percent to 227,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,134.8 won against the U.S. dollar, down 6.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.9 basis point to 1.107 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.7 basis points to 1.624 percent.


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